Annual Conference Session begins in two days

5/31/2015

United Methodists from across South Georgia will converge in Tifton June 3 through June 6 for the 2015 Annual Conference Session.

With a theme of “We’re Better Together” from Matthew 18:20 which says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them,” this year’s Annual Conference Session will focus on the timeless value of fellowship.

“This theme … will help us celebrate the fellowship we share with Christ and with each other,” said Rev. Hutto, Conference Secretary. 

The main business item will be electing delegates to the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Handheld electronic voting devices will be used to aid in the elections process. 

Four lay delegates and four clergy delegates will be elected to serve as the General Conference delegation and an additional four lay and four clergy delegates will be elected to serve as the Jurisdictional Conference delegation. The Conference will also elect several reserve delegates.

As in years past, the highlight of the Annual Conference session will be the coming together of churches, clergy, and laity from across the South Georgia Conference. Large and small, rural and urban, all will come together to celebrate what God is doing in South Georgia and their oneness in Christ.

The 2015 Annual Conference session will commence on Wednesday afternoon, June 3, with Bishop James King preaching during the opening worship service. The first business session will follow, and the evening will conclude with a memorial service for deceased clergy and clergy spouses.

The Annual Conference session will continue Thursday morning, June 4, with separate laity and clergy sessions, a business session, lay delegate elections, and an evening worship service.

On Friday morning, June 5, the Conference will recognize and celebrate retiring clergy. Each retiree will have a moment to address the Annual Conference. Clergy delegate elections will be held that afternoon and the evening will be free.

The 2015 Annual Conference session will close on Saturday morning, June 6, following an Ordination/Commissioning Service and the traditional “fixing of the pastoral appointments” for the coming year by Bishop King.

The Wednesday through Saturday schedule is a shift from previous years’ schedules.

“We have moved the days for Annual Conference from the beginning of the week to the end of the week in the hope of better accommodating our delegates,” Rev. Hutto said. “Many of our lay delegates who work may find it easier to attend at the end of the week.  For the first time, we are also offering the Commissioning and Ordination Service on Saturday morning as a part of our closing worship.  We hope this will better accommodate the family members who wish to attend this service.”

The 2015 Annual Conference leadership includes Dr. Christine Pohl, Associate Provost and Professor of Church and Society/Christian Ethics at Asbury Seminary, who will present the Annual Conference session’s teaching moments; Bishop Jonathan Keaton from the Illinois Area who will preach at the Ordination/Commissioning Service; and Rev. Ronnie Wills, pastor of Thomasville First UMC, who will preach at the Memorial Service.

Throughout the four-day session, clergy and laity will have opportunities to build relationships and fellowship.

The Special Offering for the 2015 South Georgia Annual Conference will go to support ministry with college students through Wesley Foundation campus ministries across the Conference. During the opening worship service on Wednesday afternoon, June 3, the Conference will receive a special offering to support campus ministries at these colleges and universities:

  • Georgia Southwestern (Americus)
  • Fort Valley State
  • Georgia Southern (Statesboro)
  • Mercer, Middle Georgia State, Wesleyan (Macon)
  • Armstrong Atlantic State (Savannah)
  • Savannah State
  • SCAD (Savannah)
  • Valdosta State

Churches are encouraged to receive an offering in the weeks prior to Annual Conference and bring the offering with them to Tifton. Resources to help promote this special offering will be posted at www.sgaumc.org/annualconference.

Throughout the Annual Conference session, attendees are encouraged to donate items to the ministries and agencies of the South Georgia Annual Conference. Each of the agencies listed below will have a collection box in the lobby at Annual Conference. They have selected items that will help them in their day-to-day operation. Choose one or several and let’s help fill up their boxes! Overflowing collection bins will be another great way to show that “We're Better Together!”

  • Magnolia Manor: Puzzle books (crossword, word search, Sudoku), #2 lead pencils, and manual sharpeners
  • Methodist Home: Body wash, boys/girls deodorant, hairbrushes/combs, shampoo/conditioner
  • Open Door: Toiletries/hygiene items
  • Vashti: Towels and washcloths
  • Wesley Community Centers: Boxed - Hypoallergenic latex gloves
  • Wesley Glen: Antibacterial wipes for hands or baby wipes

Those who will not be in Tifton for the Annual Conference session are being asked to participate by giving in advance or sending their donation(s) with their church’s Annual Conference lay member.

Several informational webinars are planned, including one for first-time delegates and one that will focus on the election process. 

All conference business and worship services will be held in the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton.

Those not able to attend will still be able to keep up with everything that happens. All worship services and business session will be streamed live online at www.sgaumc.org.

Several Tifton-area hotels have rooms blocked for the Annual Conference session. Make reservations early to ensure availability and ask for the South Georgia United Methodist Church group rate when booking. View the list of hotels at www.sgaumc.org/hotels.

For more information about the 2015 South Georgia Annual Conference Session, visit www.sgaumc.org/annualconference.

Below is a tentative schedule of events.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

10:00 AM       Registration Begins

2:00 PM         Opening Worship
                       Bishop James King, preaching

                       Conference Offering

3:30 PM         First Plenary Session

5:00 PM         Dinner Break

7:30 PM        Memorial Service w/ Holy Communion

Thursday, June 4, 2015

8:00 AM         Registration Reopens

8:30 AM         Laity Session

8:30 AM         Clergy Session in Ballroom

10:30 AM       Plenary Session

12:00 PM        Lunch Break

2:00 PM         Lay Delegate Elections

5:00 PM         Adjourn for Supper

7:30 PM         Swamp Gravy

Friday, June 5, 2015

8:30 AM          Plenary Business Session

11:00 AM         Retiree Recognition

12:00 PM          Lunch Break

2:00 PM           Clergy Delegate Elections

5:00 PM           Dinner Break

                          FREE NIGHT

Saturday, June 6, 2015

8:30 AM           Plenary Business Session

10:00 AM          Ordination/Commissioning

                          Fixing the Appointments/Sending Forth

12:00 PM          Adjourn